New, Virtual Reality Fall Protection App
The American Society of Safety Professionals created a new VR Fall Protection Experience app as a training tool for employees. Fall protection was the most frequently cited OSHA violation in 2017, so the ASSP created this app that can help. The app uses virtual reality to teach users about working at height in compliance with the ANSI/ASSP Z359 Fall Protection and Fall Restraint standards. The app has two parts. The first part has the user identify any fall hazards on the roof of a two-story building, such as a skylight or a piece of equipment placed near the roof’s edge. “We wanted to try to find a good cross-section of hazards that would include elements of different environments that users might see when working at height,” said Thomas Kramer, P.E., CSP, vice chair of the ANSI Z359 Accredited Standards Committee and fall protection subject matter expert for the app. “Based on people’s experiences, whether they be construction-focused or maintenance-focused, the app helps users be aware of hazards that may not be as apparent to them.” After identifying all fall hazards, users build a fall protection system for a coworker to use while working on the rooftop. The user chooses and tests an anchor point, harness and lanyard to provide the safest level of fall protection. The experience has different results based on the choices made by the employee. Users can run through the scenario multiple times to make difference choices. “The app demonstrates that fall protection PPE is a system that needs to be designed rather than just a pile of equipment that will keep you safe,” Kramer said. “It impresses upon the user the seriousness of these life and death decisions that they have to consider when using personal protective equipment for falls and allows them to fail safely.” After following these two steps, the user’s performance is assessed based on how successful their attempt was. For more information, visit the ASSP website.